I've never felt more alive than the nights spent among the grass in Tsavo, knowing that I was on the food chain. Not just prey for men, but for predators that would devour me and gnaw on my scattered bones. My guide wore a pink shower cap to keep the dust from his hair, and he spoke only a small smattering of English. As I sat around the fire with him at night, gazing into the flames but not speaking, I knew that the means to keep myself from being sold as a hostage was the payment waiting for him in Nairobi. That, and my .38 revolver.
As our old battered Land Rover clattered to life in a burst of cantankerous smoke the next morning, my nostrils flared. I saw the grass divide and come back together as those who had been watching us departed. I never knew if they were man or beast.
There are stories that we are disinclined to share. Sometimes they are not stories at all, only wet, visceral pin point splatters in our memory. They are not chonological, and they are hard to give description to. Still, they are points of heightened humanity that makes us who we are.